The 'Flying Carpet' of Seyed Alavi

Can you imagine walking the route that your plane will take - on your way into the airport from the parking lot? Artist Seyed Alavi has created a 150 foot 'flying carpet' that has a digital copy of the course of the Sacramento River woven into it.

(From Seyed Alavi's Sacramento Airport Flying Carpet)

The carpet shows approximately fifty miles of the river, starting just outside Colusa, CA and ending about six miles south of Chico. If I'm doing my math right, that means that a six foot tall person walking on the carpet is seeing the carpet 'landscape' from an apparent height of about two miles.

(Crawling baby viewpoint [carpet detail])

Science fiction fans could have great fun with this carpet, which was installed this past summer in the Sacramento airport. It might remind you of the view of Larry Niven's Ringworld from space. The same novel offers teleportation pads called stepping discs that allow you to literally cover miles with each step, like the twenty-league boots of old; walking on this carpet would feel like that.

Another thing that fascinates me with this idea is that it is the opposite of the micro-miniaturized displays, like the data goggles of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash or the somewhat retro eyephones from William Gibson's Idoru.

Seyed Alavi remarks "it was my intention with this project to present a fun and humorous situation for laughter and play, where travelers will feel rejuvenated and reminded of the magic of flight." I'll bet it works.

Read more about the 'flying carpet' at Seyed Alavi's website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/30/2005)

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